Why Can’t Hollywood Tell New Stories Anymore?

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It’s not a new idea, and it’s not the first time I’ve said so, but I wish Hollywood could produce new movies instead of remaking things they’ve made before. Most of the big releases in recent years seem to be sequels, reboots, or retellings.

And it’s getting worse. Somehow, we seem to be approaching an event horizon, after which it will only be possible for a movie production company to produce a story we’ve already seen and liked, maybe with a few little twists and some names changed to protect the innocent.

The thing is, I don’t subscribe to the idea that the only way to be successful is to repackage something people have already enjoyed. I think it ignores the intelligence and capability of your audience.

Considering I mostly only watch genre cinema, you might take this with a grain of salt or two, but I think the point is still valid.

Last year actually had more one off films than most years in the last decade. Five of them jump to mind, most of which were better than the blockbuster sequels populating the top ten: Chappie, Ex Machina, Jupiter Ascending, The Martian, Selfless. Yes, there were a couple of duds, too, but Pixels was still at least as good as half of the top 10 money makers for the year.

2016 may be trying hard to make up for 2015, though there might still be a little potential. It’s the one-off films I’m after, because the number of those seems to be dwindling. If we don’t go to see the single films that have that potential then in not much more than another decade, we’ll have to pick between Transformers 15 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Regurgitation.

Stripping out the sequels, reboots, and sequels of reboots, we’re left with a much smaller list of genre films for the year, not counting imports and films in translation.

The basic opinions that follow are based on my reading of advance reviews and trailers. Feel free to fight with me about any of them.

Zero or not much potential: Warcraft, Deadpool, The BFG, Norm of the North, Suicide Squad. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on movies we didn’t need. For the price of most of these, the studios could have made several movies each, with actual stories and actual characters instead of mere special effects extravaganzas or expensive cartoons.

A little potential: Gods of Egypt, The Three-Body Problem, The 5th Wave. But probably not much. Most of these fall into the same category of “why bother”. The two films under Other are based on books, one of which I found only a passable read and the other seeming like a retread of well worn ground.

Some potential: Kubo and the Two Strings, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Moana, A Monster Calls, Zootopia, Henchmen, The Space Between Us. There’s a couple of these I might catch in the theatre, but the rest will probably be on the Netflix list. I’m flexible on this list, though. As I learn more, it’d possible some of these might move up. Or down.

Good potential: Doctor Strange. There’s only one film in this section of the list so far, and it’s an overlooked piece of the Marvel universe. Still a superhero movie, sort of, but not in the same way as most of the rest of them.

But it doesn’t look like I’m spending much time in theatres this year.

Be well, everyone.

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